I awoke this morning to news I never thought I’d hear – Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have separated after thirteen years of marriage. As I write this, the separation remains still a rumor and to be honest, I’m not sure it’s a rumor I believe. The source, at the moment anyway, is In Touch Weekly; a publication not exactly known for it’s sterling fact checking skills. All the same, should it be true, this split is just the latest in a long line of shocking celebrity splits that took the world by surprise.
Remember when Bruce Willis and Demi Moore split up? Who saw that one coming? More importantly, who could foresee that Demi would go on to marry Ashton Kutcher; a guy that was barely out of diapers when her first marriage ended.
Now, I’m not exactly young but I’ve got a few years to go before I’m officially considered old. I don’t really remember Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman splitting up after ten years of marriage, but I’m told it was pretty shocking.
Before I get to my list of the ten most shocking splits of the last ten years, I want to take a moment to discuss my decision making process when putting couples on this list. I’m looking for actual shocking celebrity splits. A celebrity breakup can’t be considered shocking if everyone saw it coming. I’m specifically referring to George Clooney and… everyone he’s ever dated. The same goes for Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cameron Diaz and all those other folks who seem to be happier single. Teen stars also don’t make my list because they’re young. Young people break up. It’s a part of the growing up process. With all that said, let’s take a look at ten of the biggest celebrity breakup shockers in recent memory.
10: Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall – Married One Year
The shortest of all the relationships on this list, Jennifer Carpenter and Michael C. Hall married on New Year’s Eve 2009 and Jennifer filed for divorce in December of 2010. The split wasn’t shocking because of how long they’d been together or how happy they seemed in public. Instead, this split was shocking because Jennifer and Michael play siblings Deb and Dexter on Showtime’s hit series, Dexter and because Jennifer stood by Michael through his public battle with cancer. Fans of the show were left not only wondering what happened between the couple but also how the split would impact the show.
09: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony – Married Seven Years
When Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced their split on July 15, 2010 after seven years of marriage, the world somehow seemed shocked. Me? Not so much. There have been rumors that these two would be going their separate ways for a while now and to be honest, a split seemed all but inevitable considering that speculation and the history of both parties involved. When Lopez released her new album titled Love? the question mark at the end really should’ve sent up red flags. I can see how people missed it though. In public, Lopez and Anthony seemed like a happy couple with Anthony even making several appearances on American Idol. All the same, to anyone paying attention to the gossip about these at least saw this one coming a little bit, hence it’s low position on the list.
08: Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel – Together Six Years
Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel seemed like a match made in comedy heaven. They were absolutely adorable together. The way they teased each other about sleeping with other people (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for those who don’t remember) never seemed like anything more than the playful banter of two comedians in love. Everyone was surprised when the couple announced their split. There was a glimmer of hope when they briefly reunited, but that seems all but gone now. Sad indeed.
07: Sandra Bullock and Jesse James – Married Five Years
So perhaps this split wasn’t really that much of a shock considering the cheating, allegations of racism and the fact that Jesse James seems incapable of being anything other than a douchebag, but the revelation of those things definitely was surprising. After seeing images of a seemingly proud Jesse crying as Sandra won her first Academy Award, finding out he’d been cheating on her was a complete shock.
06: Courteney Cox and David Arquette – Married Eleven Years
This was a celebrity split that honestly made me a little sad inside. I loved Courteney and David as a couple. They seemed so incredibly mismatched but they also seemed so incredibly happy. Looks can be deceiving though. After eleven years of marriage, Courteney said she was tired of having to ‘look after him’ and considering David’s behavior following the split, it isn’t too hard to imagine there’s a whole lot of truth to that. Even so, I’m still rooting for a reunion. I hope it happens. I loved these guys together.
05: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver – Married Twenty-Five Years
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver seemed like a couple that would be together forever. They didn’t necessarily seem happy but they at least seemed committed to stick it out to the end. When they announced they were separating after twenty-five years of marriage, one had to assume something big had happened. A love child with the nanny seemed about right.
04: Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes – Married Seven Years
Although not racking up as many years together as some of the other couples in the top five, Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes genuinely seemed happy together. They seemed so well suited to each other. I was genuinely shocked when the split was announced as were a lot of people. It had been an especially bad year already for Hollywood marriages but it was hard to imagine Kate and Sam would be added to that list until the actual announcement was made.
03: Mel and Robyn Gibson – Married Twenty-Seven Years
Now, this particular breakup may not seem all that shocking considering everything that happened after it, but when news first broke that Mel and Robyn Gibson were divorcing, it seemed to come out of nowhere. She stood by him through the whole DUI mess and the ensuing scandal and that’s not even mentioning the whole herd of children they have together. When they announced that they were divorcing after twenty-seven years of marriage, it definitely caught a lot of people by surprise although that shock was quickly overshadowed by, well, pretty much everything that happened after the split.
02: Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon – Together Twenty-Three Years
I didn’t see this one coming at all. Tim and Susan were one of those couples that had been together for so long (twenty-three years) it seemed they would never part. And then they did. The reason for the split has never really been disclosed publicly, as most aren’t, but rumors that Susan fell in love with someone else have been floating around since the separation was announced.
01: Al and Tipper Gore – Married Forty Years
I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted this one. When Al and Tipper Gore announced that they planned to divorce after a whopping forty years of marriage, I’m quite certain everyone was shocked. While the announcement didn’t get the press many of the other splits on this list did, it was, in my opinion at least, the most shocking split involving any public figure I’ve ever heard of.
*Note: Just as I was about to publish this, I received word Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith released a statement refuting the claims made by In Touch. The statement reads: “Although we are reluctant to respond to these types of press reports, the rumors circulating about our relationship are completely false. We are still together, and our marriage is intact.” So there you have it. In Touch is full of crap as usual. Hopefully Will and Jada have many more happy years together.